Nasarawa: Implementing NAGIS General Land Use And Detailed District Plans

After almost two years geographical mapping, at the cost of over N300 million, Nasarawa State has created a rational pattern for physical development as contained in its General Land Use and Detailed District Plans.

This is aimed at harnessing land potentials, natural and man-made endowments in the three selected town areas of Keffi, Lafia and Karu for sustained development with Lafia, the state capital having a total land area of 1600 square-kilometre designated for development while Karu and Keffi have 1268 and 400 square kilometres respectively.

With details of general land use and detailed district plans ready for implementation, Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura is poised to streamline physical development programmes and enhance development potentials for the towns as well as boost the economic base of the state.

The commissioner of Lands and Town Planning, Mr. Sonny Agassi, said the goal of the plan is to present opportunities for sustainability of development taking into cognisance the natural resource endowment, economic base, population growth, opportunities and threats.

Agassi noted that the design contained in the detailed district plan is tailored to be distinctive, sustainable and guarantee strong and safe neighbourhoods. When implemented in the various designated areas, it would produce cities that reflect its historical and current status of modern hierarchy in the state.

He explained that Governor Almakura is bringing his wealth of experience in the real estate to bear as the proposed cities would bear qualities of modern best practices where land use, natural environment and the built environment are blended together to produce greener and healthier habitation.

This is in view of the fact that living habits lead to problems such as the over use of natural resources,  destruction of the ecosystem, pollution,  growing social inequality and large scale climate change.

Apart from taking due cognisance of aesthetics where the designs of buildings and spaces contribute to create beautiful scenery,  the NAGIS detailed district plans guarantee the availability of efficient,  affordable and available transport choices.

A breakdown of the general land use and detailed district plan of Karu shows that 12 districts have been delineated for development. Nine of the districts have been earmarked for residential development while one each is allocated for public and institutional development, commercial and industrial development and regional resort centre.

In Keffi, a total of eight districts have been delineated for development.  Five of those have been designated for residential development, while one each is earmarked for public institutions and educational village with one district being reserved for Agricultural development.

In Lafia, the state capital, 17 districts have been set aside with most of it being designated for residential development.  One reserved for passenger airport and another for the university.

The existing core settlements in all the three designated areas is to undergo renewal and upgrade, which has already commenced. The other selected areas for immediate development are based on parameters which include current land values, proximity to the existing business hub, flexibility in linking with existing development and topographical opportunities and constraints.

Mr Peter Ritchie, GIS consultant, explained that the NAGIS plan intends to integrate the disciplines of land use and transport planning to explore a wide range of aspects of the already built and social environments.

He said a key role of this project is in advancement of Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura’s urban renewal template and regeneration of older parts of the selected cities by adopting urban planning methods.

Mr Agassi adds that the detailed district plans and general land use blueprint aims to exploit the natural and man-made potentials of Karu, Keffi and Lafia with a view to transforming them to attractive, competitive and commercial nerve centres of the state.

He said the plan has identified local resources and recommended local economic development projects that will promote the progress of other settlements in the state.

He stressed that growth of unplanned settlements has increased considerably with significant shortfalls in infrastructural provisions which spurred Governor Almakura to take necessary steps to correct this anomaly.

The land use and detailed district plans lay out proposals highlighting the physical, social and economic needs and aspirations of the state though corresponding challenges are anticipated especially as it affects changing the mindset of the public towards seeing the bigger picture and embracing the overall benefit of the project.

Another integral part of this detailed master plan for the development of land potential in the state is the Karu-Keffi commercial precinct which is designed to rely on the Abuja-Keffi road to boost economic activities along the Abuja corridor which offers enormous trade and investment opportunities.

By this, the road is to be expanded to accommodate its proposed service as linear downtown multi-purpose area running through the Karu-Keffi planning area along the Abuja-Keffi expressway.  This would span between 50-100 meters from the highway centreline based on the peculiar nature of development across the affected area. The precinct would be characterised with high-rise buildings, mostly commercial, as well as other uses on both sides of the road.

From the survey, as obtained by LEADERSHIP Friday, affected structures within the corridor using the aerial photography showed that a total of 4,722 structures would be affected with 1,336 within the 50m buffer, while 356 would be partially affected.

Within the 100m buffer, a total of 2,678 structures would be affected while 352 would be partially touched.

To arrest the perennial problems associated with traffic congestion, terminals would be located at specific spots to serve as drop/pick up points for passengers who would use the rail system to run beside the highway of the precincts. It is also expected to serve as switch point to the BRT model split.

Due to the vast width of the road which would comprise the expressway, a switch point and railway terminals, overhead bridges would be constructed at strategic points to enhance safety of commuters and reduce traffic congestion on the roads.

The formulation of the general land use and detailed plan blueprint became imperative as a result of the haphazard and indiscriminate physical development taking place in urban areas in major city centres in the state,  NAGIS second phase will effectively control measures to curb the trend.  The ugly development pattern was most visible in the Mararaba-Karu-Keffi axis as a consequence of the proximity of the area to the Federal Capital Territory.

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